Gabriel Galanski’s career journey has taken him from the US Marine Corps to the Macquarie Insurance Facility, part of Macquarie Asset Management. On this year’s Veterans Day, he reflects on his career journey.
Gabriel Galanski has spent the last six years working for the global, client led, aggregated insurance-buying platform, Macquarie Insurance Facility, but he began his career by spending four years as an officer in the US Marine Corps.
“Service in the US Marine Corps was difficult, but leading Marines was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life,” Gabriel says.
“There is something unique and special about the shared bonds forged among servicemembers in the military who truly represent the entire cross-section of our nation. There are people from all walks of life who, through shared experiences and shared culture, are united in pursuit of common purpose.”
Reflecting on Veterans Day, Gabriel says he is grateful for this honorary holiday that provides a reminder to the wider community to acknowledge the people who have risked their lives to defend their country.
“It’s important to me that the company I work for shows its support for the current and past servicemembers, and I’m pleased that veterans from Macquarie will be marching in the New York City Veteran’s Day parade this November 11.”
Gabriel says that while he was still in the eighth grade, he was inspired to join the United States Marine Corps by the events of September 11.
“It had a formative influence on my life,” Gabriel explains. “I wanted to serve my country.”
Estimating he could have more impact as an officer, Gabriel decided to go to university, enrolling in a BA in Psychology program at Villanova University. At Villanova, he joined the university’s renowned Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and reported for training at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.
“I chose the US Marines because they are elite,” Gabriel says. “The Marines are built on a holistic, integrated organizational structure and their key differentiator is culture.”
“They’re lean and nimble and have a focus on identifying opportunities to be successful. Built around delegating decision-making authority to the lowest level possible, on-scene commanders are guided by senior leaders’ intent and supported with the resources they need, enabling the organization to make better, faster, decisions than their adversaries. The shared ethos also generates the trust and common mindset necessary for decentralized operations.”
In 2011, Gabriel became a Platoon Commander, responsible for training, leading and mentoring a rifle platoon of over 40 Marines deployed to Afghanistan.
He describes this experience as challenging but says that he learned key skills - not least because he needed to develop relationships with a district government in Afghanistan to support the success of the mission.
“It was fascinating working with people from dramatically different cultural backgrounds to find common goals and solutions, amid a challenging security environment,” Gabriel explains.
When he returned to the United States, Gabriel switched roles. He became a Future Operations Officer, taking on responsibility for coordinating complex training plans for a battalion of over one thousand Marines headed to Afghanistan.
In 2014, Gabriel decided to trade the service for private life.
Inspired by knowing people who had successful careers in insurance, he landed a role at a leading global insurance broker and risk advisor. One year into his new career, a mentor introduced him to the Macquarie Insurance Facility, part of Macquarie Asset Management. In 2015, Gabriel joined the team as an Executive.
“I was attracted to the platform’s fascinating and differentiated service offering,” Gabriel says.
Gabriel says he could see the business presented a significant value opportunity for clients, while allowing him to grow his abilities and the business. He says this still remains true six years on and many of the skills he learned as an officer translated seamlessly to his new career.
“People are often surprised when they hear military skills expressed in a different way,” Gabriel explains. “Ultimately, in the Marines, you’re leading a team in a dynamic environment with competing priorities to achieve a clear outcome.”
“The human-oriented soft skills you develop in the military translate into any industry.”
Gabriel says he enjoys the fact that Macquarie’s culture requires the same fundamental internal drive as the military: the desire to be exceptional, to find and develop opportunities, outcompete, enjoy accountability and embrace challenges all while acting with the utmost integrity.
But he acknowledges there were adjustments in returning to non-military life. Not only did he have to learn a whole new industry and understand asset management lifecycles, he also found he had to re-orient his communication style, adjust to a less hierarchical organizational structure, and balance a different pace of work.
“My interest in psychology, in how people think and why they act, certainly helped,” Gabriel says. “I’m very happy I made the change.”
Gabriel describes his team's work as an innovative aggregated insurance buying program. Originally established to support Macquarie Asset Management to be more efficient and obtain the best terms on insurance for their assets, the platform has grown into a business that generates income by servicing companies across the globe.
In fact, the business is now one of the largest insurance buyers in the world. It is responsible for delivering savings in excess of $US265 million to over 45 private equity firms and infrastructure funds and has responsibility for over $US1.3 billion of premiums under management.
“Insurance is very important in helping to enable transactions and de-risk operational platforms,” Gabriel says.
It is a simple but innovative model, and Gabriel says one of the rewards is getting to pioneer a new business model alongside talented people from Macquarie’s offices globally.
Gabriel was promoted to Manager in 2018 and again to Senior Manager in 2020. However, he describes himself as a generalist, who works across an expanding team and enjoys a holistic view.
“My job involves working with a diverse group of people from brokers and insurers to internal and external clients. It’s about utilizing influence, persuasion, and reasoning with stakeholders at every step in the value chain to achieve the best outcome for our clients,” he says.
“Business development is the infantry of corporate life.”
“Our team creates meaningful value for our internal and external clients and is a product of Macquarie’s culture of excellence and emphasis on opportunity,” Gabriel explains. “Our entrepreneurial culture, where colleagues are supported in pursuing their visions, is what makes Macquarie such a wonderful place to work.”
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